10 Years Ago Tonight – What Did I Do?

“10 Years Ago Tonight –

What Did I Do?”

Let me set the scene:-

I was at my close friends’ Allen and Elaine’s house enjoying a Friday night dinner. This was a regular occurrence and on many times went into the early hours of the morning. They use to be my neighbours and even though they had moved to a new estate remained special to me.

So on this night then dated the 24th January 2003 – Elaine whom had set up her own business and expressed these immortal words to me

“Why don’t you work for yourself”?

I have accounting and book-keeping skills and could have turned this to a business if I had tried. However I didn’t have the confidence, know how or at the time the inclination to do so.

On my arrival at home later, those words plagued me and the more I thought about it I just had to boot up the computer at the time. It was a slow one, a Compaq-386 on dial up connection. Do you remember those days?

When the AOL browser surfaced on the screen I typed in the infamous words like “Make Money At Home” and derivatives of this. BIG MISTAKE even to this day I will say that. Why I hear you ask?

I was hit by screens and screens of web links taking me here, there, everywhere promising the earth in making millions online in their programs in days/months/years.

I was excited as immediately I knew that being online with a computer was the key to my future. I saw the immense potential straightaway of what it could deliver and mean to my life.

That was the start of my life becoming addicted to the internet. From that day/night since I have eaten, drank and slept all the internet is about. I have seen many developments and technology advances in the last 10 years since too. The internet has become “My Marriage”

However back then it was all new to me, and even today still is in its own individual way, there is always something new to learn. I found information after information, hour after hour, link after link, day after day into early hours each night after work. It was not long before I had hit information burnout or overload!!

We have all been there believe me, as most blogs that I read have a post about this feeling. I was lost in this wave of information being thrown at me.

So where did I start?

I recognised the fact that there were many different programs, systems and opportunities being put in front of me. I did however start with one an online shop front with something called “SMARTMALL”. This was actually a business of products with affiliate links of everything I think you could possibly wish to buy. It was also a MLM business in that you recruited others below you and then got a % of their sales too.

“SMARTMALL” does no longer exist – say no more, and I even had trouble recalling its name as I wrote this post.

I joined several sites, newsletters, tips, anything that had an opt-in box I joined. I was hungry to know how I could promote my new found online business.

During my journey I came across “gurus” (I say this meaning they were already being successful online) like Corey Rudl, Lee Benson, Frank Garon, Terry Dean, Mike Filsaime, Ewan Chia, Jeremy Gislason, Armand Morin, Jesus Mejas  and more. Some are still around today and on my list of people to associate with.

I joined Safe-lists and Banner Exchanges to promote my shop along with other traffic generation systems at the time.

I read the “gurus” newsletters and followed their tips where possible and yes I was bringing in prospects. I even joined leads generation organisations  and more. I then bought email harvesting software and soon realised that I was spamming, so immediately STOPPED.

I have made many failures along the way and very little money in return for my efforts. In fact I would reckon that I have spent in excess of £30,000 over the years in products, courses and software to build an online business. Some I even bought twice as a result of being disorganised. This is why I am now wading my way through 1TB of data, products and software in 2013 getting it organised or deleted as useless now.

I soon came across John Thornhill on my 10 year journey and decided to set up a shop with the aim of digital resell. I did this at the time that digital downloads were then banned. So I chose to sell physical goods and was building a shop and repeat custom selling Baby Shoes and goods. Then EBay changed its pricing structure so was going to cost me more to list than I was selling at the time as I was in my infancy.

Knock-back after Knock-back

But I was still determined that this is where

I would make my living one day – ONLINE.

I became interested in Web design and HTML and wanted to educate myself. Still are today in respect of HTML and other languages. I managed to get a “cheap version of Dreamweaver” off EBay and started playing around. I managed to buy a domain, hosting and FTP several different web designs on the net.

Technology has changed greatly in the last 10 years in that most websites now appear to be Blogs and using Themes based upon the WordPress platform.

I only seem to recall limited browsers back then now we have all the popular ones, like IE9, Firefox, Safari, Chrome and others.

Social Media has really taken off in recent years. It really is astounding to believe how it is changing our lives, and dominating the Internet and influencing how the Internet is being developed in the future

I have stacks of courses, DVD’s and PDF’s to last me to my dying day and beyond to get through. Some of this information is now defunct but even so they are still valuable in taking as a product idea and updating them as my own product one day.

The last 10 years has been eventful in both my online and offline life. I moved back to my birth county to return closer to my son. I changed career direction from accounting and book-keeping to the care industry, as unable to get a job back home in my field and needed work. I have now been in care work for 6 years dealing with issues from autism, learning difficulties, mental health and special needs like cerebral palsy, physical handicap and more. Despite the setbacks in my life, the changes of direction in my personal career life, location and family issues.

I have NEVER ever lost that goal to BE MY OWN BOSS and WORK AT HOME. These are the infamous words, “WORK AT HOME” that started my journey.

Although I have attempted and mostly failed along the way I regard it all as an educational journey. Like when I was at real school as a child being educated ready for life.

Roll on the next ten years when I put all this knowledge and experience to use in actually making money to repay the investment in myself and enjoy the lifestyle I know that I deserve.

Hopefully in less than another 10 years!!



  • Murray Whitcombe

    Reply Reply January 27, 2013

    Awesome Article Gary… and with your determination and drive you will SURELY get there my friend!! Keep up the good work and I wish you every success… you deserve it. Take Care.

  • Donald

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    Hi Gary,

    An excellent post. Reminds me off me. Before leaving the RN after 22 years of service I was entitled to do any course I wanted. I decided on Computer Maintenance, an 18 month course, we had to do in 4 weeks. Only reason I did this was you got to take the computer home afterwards. That was in 1999. 32MB RAM. Unbelievable. Before AOL I used another ISP, Can’t remember the name, began with ‘N’, must be an age thing.

    I dillied and dallied. Had 2 websites, one with female clothes, handbags etc and one music site. Never ever sold anything, then I was dabbling with Tradedoubler. I joined eBay in 2002. Anyway, I didn’t have as much interest as I have today. There were lots of stuff I didn’t have a clue about.

    Will stop there, good luck mate.



  • Andrew Stark

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    Hi Gary,

    Behind every overnight success story is a tale like yours, so if you follow John’s training and create a product to sell you’ll be on the way.

    I agree that everything has changed massively in the last 10 years, social media has helped to weed out some of the bad sites, but like you say typing “Make Money Online” into the internet will lead you down a bad initial path.

    The best thing I did last year was to throw out all my old home study courses, it hurt to admit that $10k has been wasted, but it’s a lesson that needs to be learned.

    Focus on building lists and relationships, and then if you recommend good products that solve problems the sales will just happen without you having to really sell.


  • Gareth Kentish

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    What an honest account of your experience. I enjoyed reading it – all!. When posts are so long, I normally skip through the text and often fail to reach the end. My attention span is limited, but in this case I read all your post. It resonated so much with my experience of Internet Marketing.
    Everyone who is interested in making a living from the web should read this post. My experience has taught me that there’s more “hype” and “promise” out there than real substance – which is a shame. Thanks for the post Gary – good luck for the next 10 years.

  • Sue

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    Hi Gary,
    Yes, I have a similar story. Spent lots of money, little if any results. It all seemed too hard.
    Thanks to John Thornhill tho’ i feel as though I am moving forward further than I ever have.
    I am well into my eBook so hopefully things will be going OK at last.
    Great blog post. All the best.

  • Dan Sumner

    Reply Reply January 26, 2013

    Hey Gary,

    Congrats on the latest blog post in a row well done fro creating so much content.

    I haven’t been into internet marketing as long as you have, but have been online for a very long time in IT.

    My journey started early in 2006, and since then I also have been married to IM, sometimes much to the disapproval of my wife lol.

    It’s great to see you are on the right path and have found a great mentor. John is a personal friend of mine, so I know how good his work is. I’m sure you will find ultimate success in 2013 Gary.

    Thanks for sharing such a great article 🙂


    • Gary Watson

      Reply Reply January 26, 2013

      Wow I almost feel like I have royalty on my blog now. I have followed all of you lads up north for years, you Dan, Dave, John and those associated around you all.

      Now I have finally managed to get aligned with you all. This is mainly because of the development of these Facebook groups and the prices on the products being delivered are now within reach of us mere mortals struggling to get started.

      It really is a new era being developed in the internet marketing arena and I am now getting regular comments. I am making new friends and hopefully future JV partners one day. I hope that I can build up friendships like you lads up north have.

      Who knows in a few years where we all will be. I am prepared to put the work in. I really do now feel the time is right for me to spread my wings and flourish online, without losing my focus this time. See tomorrow’s post on this!!

      Thanks again Dan – I really do appreciate you taking the time to respond.

      Now going to look at your blog post as might pick some tips up from it.

  • Gary Watson

    Reply Reply January 25, 2013


    Currently I just thought of a planned post for tomorrow as a continuation to this post. It simply came to mind as I re read it and seems an obvious follow on to me.

    I do not think I can keep up with this daily posting along with all the other projects I need to do.

    Also my housekeeping is suffering at home as I live alone and work an 88 hour shift over a fortnight via 12 hour shifts. So add sleep into that and it does not allow time to do much per day unless I am on my rest days, which should be household catch up time!!

    This week I have optional work training too on one of my rest days so I think that I will have to roll back for February going forward. I will have to adopt my rollback plan that I posted in yesterday’s post to allow myself to keep on top of everything.

    I haven’t even touched my subject of the month really, which was my aim. So I have that still to fall back on to. I also have the topic for February still. Might have to move that to the next month and roll them all back a month.

    My plan has been to have content on my blog. I have achieved that and I have amazed myself to be honest.

    I am now focusing on my Aweber follow up messages as that is my Achille’s heal at the moment. So if you have any help, advise, follow-up campaigns I would be grateful to learn more. I know that this sounds crazy but I just do not know how start the initial roll out of say 7 follow ups in regards to what to say, keep the subscriber on the list until they accept me as value. Crazy I know after what I have done on the blog, but I view follow-up messages differently.

    Any help appreciated.

    I am a lot further today with my online presence than I was 10 years ago so that a tick on my internet walk to success.

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